China urges UNSC to reconsider sanctions on North Korea

Beijing: China on Friday urged the UN Security Council to reconsider the sanctions imposed on North Korea in order to move forward in the negotiations for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula after a second summit between US President Donald Trump and Pyongyang leader Kim Jong-un ended inconclusively.

“China believes that according to relevant resolutions and the progress made in the peninsula, especially measures taken by North Korea on denuclearization, the UNSC needs to consider and hold a debate about revoking the provisions of the Council in order to modify sanctions,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.

According to explanations provided by Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the negotiations failed on Thursday when Kim offered to dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear research facility – where North Korea produces nuclear material for its weapons – in exchange for a complete lifting of sanctions.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho contradicted this version of the negotiations hours later in a midnight press conference in Hanoi, saying that Kim had asked the US for only a partial removal of sanctions in exchange for dismantling Yongbyon.

“After this summit, we have noticed that both sides made statements about the lifting of sanctions. They are different from each other but both sides believe lifting sanctions is an important part of denuclearization and it should be considered,” Lu said.

The Chinese spokesperson urged all parties involved to deal with the issue in a “responsible manner” and make joint efforts to reach an agreement.

China, which is North Korea`s primary trade partner and traditional political ally, has in recent years accepted the adoption of tough sanctions against Pyongyang by the UNSC in order to pressurize the regime into stopping its nuclear weapon and missile development programmes.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry refused to comment on reports that Kim might meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and discuss the results of his meeting with Trump.